Ignoring pain could become your Achilles heel.
In Greek mythology, Achilles’ mother lowered him into the River Styx by his heel. In doing so, the foul water made his entire body invulnerable except, of course, for his heel.
These days, we refer to someone’s ‘Achilles Heel’ as their weakness, and we’ve also borrowed the mythical figure’s name to describe the thickest tendon in the body—the Achilles tendon—that attaches the calf muscles to the back of the heel bone. It is this tendon that enables you to walk, run and jump—activities that are easy to take for granted. Rupture the Achilles tendon, however, and its importance to the way you move becomes abundantly clear. Statistically, 75 per cent of all Achilles ruptures—commonly associated with a feeling like being kicked on the calf—occur during recreational sports, and are more likely to occur in 30-40 year-old males.
Most Achilles problems are caused by suddenly increasing activity, not giving yourself enough time to warm-up or recover, wearing inappropriate footwear, and running on hard or uneven surfaces.
According to research, approximately 10 per cent of patients who rupture their Achilles are already suffering from pain, swelling or impaired function. Which is all the more reason to act on any warning signs—pain, stiffness and swelling along the tendon, heel pain that worsens with activity or severe pain the day after exercise—that your body sends you.
So if these symptoms sound familiar, don’t ignore them. Make an appointment to see an Osteopath at Relinque Sports and Spinal Group. Once we’ve taken the time to diagnose the problem we’ll use a range of gentle techniques and specific exercises to treat the condition. We’ll also look to reduce the load on your Achilles and take measures to reduce inflammation and the risk of rupture.
Our advice? Trust your body. If it’s telling you something’s not right, give Relinque Sports and Spinal Group a call on 03 9499 9644.